What Would You Have Done?
Posted July 31, 2010on:
I didn’t share this little blip right away. Not sure why. I did post about it on the covert email group. I wasn’t embarrassed by it, but maybe I was being a bit covert when it happened. I guess I am a little curious to see how others would have handled this.
I attended the Friends convention last weekend in Chicago, IL. I had two negative listener reactions to my stuttering, one while on the telephone, the other in person, both with hotel employees.
When I arrived at O Hare International Airport, I called the hotel to find out how to get the free shuttle. I spoke to someone at the front desk, who told me where to wait. As I was saying thank-you, it came out “th-th-th-thank you”. The person hung up on me before I finished speaking.
When I got to the hotel and checked in, the person (a night manger) behind the counter was very nice. He saw what group I was with and asked me about it. I told him I was with a large group of people who stutter, and that I hoped the hotel staff were ready to deal with this.
He assured me there would be no problems, and if there were, to let him know. I told him someone had rudely hung up on me while I was still speaking when I called the hotel. He apologized and again assured me his staff would provide the utmost of courtesy to everyone.
Two days later, during cocktail hour (which was free by the way), I was waiting my turn in line for a drink. A woman in front of me asked for a red wine, and it came out stuttered, “red-red-red wine.” When the bartender gave her the glass, he said, “Here’s your red-red-red wine”. The woman didn’t say anything, but I was shocked.
I ordered my drink from the bartender next to him. He asked if I wanted two, as we had been doing this to avoid getting back in the long line. As it was not crowded and the lines were short, I said no, I would come back later. But it came out “la-la-la-later”. He commented, “la-la-la-later, huh? Ha, ha” (or something like that). I couldn’t believe this. I had to say something.
I said, “You know, people who stutter sometimes repeat their words”. He said, “sorry, I couldn’t help it, I thought it was funny”.
I was stunned by this, but unsure of what more I could do. I had already “stuck up” for stutterers by acknowledging people who stutter repeat words. And there were people behind me, and I wasn’t sure how other stutterers would feel by me trying to take a stand here. It didn’t seem to be one of those battles that needed to be fought.
I took my drink and walked away. But I thought about it often since then. I did let the Friends director know about this in an email. I feel a bit guilty that I didn’t do more.
What would you have done?